Wirral Overwhelm Vale of Lune
By Andrew Broadbent
Wirral put on a dominant display against already relegated Vale of Lune (VoL)
In the last home game of the season and still missing a number of the first team squad the Wirral team put on a dominant display to run in 11 tries against an already relegated VOL. The match was played on a warm spring day with Wirral playing towards the club house in the first half.
There were a couple of players returning to the team with the changes being as follows: the second row was the young pairing of MATT DALTON and Hayden Long
, Tom Parry
and Joe Murray
returned to the back row and scrum half respectively. Chris Speed
returned to the centres and the wings were Ben Brooks
and JOSH CONNOLLY with Chris Crowley
moving back to full back.
Wirral were immediately on the attack with a break from Chris Crowley
and in the 3rd minute, James Annetts
broke through from 25m out to score and he then proceeded to convert his next 9 conversions. On 8 minutes a 30m run by Ryan Higginson
set up Chris Crowley
to cross, 14-0. Great passing between Chris Speed
and Mark Williams
saw the latter score, 21-0 13 minutes. The try bonus point came after 20 minutes, when a kick downfield was fielded by VOL but Chris Crowley
following up pinned the away side in their 20m area and Vale did manage to clear to touch. From the resultant line out caught by Rob Pearl
a pass to James Reeve
on the run round enabled JAMES to crash over, 28-0 (20 minutes).
A break by Mark Williams
and a kick ahead resulted in a penalty against the VOL player who obstructed and a sin bin. From this position pressure built on the VOL line and concluded with STUART GRATTAN being awarded the try from the forwards pushing back their opposite numbers, 35-0 (24 minutes). VOL tried an attack and a kick through was deftly picked up by JOSH CONNOLLY who made good ground before the ball was recycled and JAMES REEVES was on hand to pick up and shake off attempted tacklers to score close to the posts. 42-0 (32 minutes). A period of good passing amongst the centres led to an opportunity down the right and a delayed pass to JOSH CONNOLLY prevented him scoring his first try for the first team and it was left to Chris Speed
to pick up and score in the corner, a great conversion from James Annetts
followed, 49-0 this was the last score before half time.
The second half started in the same vein with a good break by Chris Speed
as he broke through several tackles before passing onto Ben Brooks
who was stopped close to the VOL line, the ball was recycled and Ryan Higginson
was on hand to charge over from 10m out, 56-0 (41 minutes). VOL had decided to control the ball more in this half and for the next 17 minutes controlled play in the Wirral half and the Wirral defence had to be on their toes to keep Vale out. On 47 minutes, Chris Speed
came off as a pre caution and was replaced by Mark Gidman
with Ben Brooks
moving into the centres and a few minutes later, Adam Don
and Ryan Stead
came on for Paul Lewis
and MATT DALTON respectively. On 59 minutes a great jinking run by JOSH CONNOLLY saw the winger stopped 5m from the line but STUART GRATTAN was on hand to score his second try (5 of the 9 tries so far had been scored by forwards) 63-0.
3 minutes later came the best individual try when Mark Williams
scored after a weaving run from 60m out to score close to the corner flag, unfortunately this try was not converted by James Annetts
but he had converted 9 out of 10- 68-0 (62 minutes). On 67 minutes Vale suffered their 2nd yellow card. James Annetts
left the field injured, appeared to be a “stinger” and MATT Dalton returned to the game with Tom Parry
moving into the backs. After a period of sustained pressure, Vale scored through Jack Aryton close to the posts and the conversion followed from Fergus Owen, 68-7 (72 minutes). However the final score came from Wirral when MATT DALTON newly back on the field made a break and passed onto Chris Crowley
who crossed for his second try close to the posts. Joe Murray
took the conversion from the 20m line and kept up his 100% conversion rate. Wirral continued to apply pressure in the closing minutes of the game but could not add to their score.
It was good to see the team get their confidence back and this was an all-round team performance. Wirral remain in 7th place and could rise up the league if they win at Alnwick next week and other results go in their favour. The team and followers are leaving on Friday afternoon and will return on Sunday for this longest away trip of the season.